Some of the greatest things in life are best shared. Two player games can offer that most direct chance for head-to-head competition or connection. Maybe you want to beat a friend in a battle of wits, or forge a bond in the crucible of combat, overcoming the odds together. As console games gear more towards online, mobile remains perhaps the last refuge of local multiplayer, offering a variety of fun opportunities for play and interaction in person.
But equally, online play is also available if that’s your preference. Whether strategy, deck building, or just a fun little indie game, the range of co-op experiences that are available on mobile, in terms of diversity and genre, can be truly surprising.
They also open up a lot more opportunities: maybe you don’t want to sit inside and play games? With mobile you and your friend could play in a cafe, or a bar, or in the park, or anywhere! That’s the joy of mobile. Our guide for the best mobile two player games is packed full of those fun little experiences for you and a friend to enjoy.
What are the best mobile two player games?
The problem with many dedicated two-player games is that sometimes they can only entertain you for so long; facing the same person constantly means that you end up learning their playstyle, and instead of tense, drawn out affairs, it can be easy to predict who’s going to win. Santorini, an excellent port of a board game of the same name, side-steps most of these problems by not only offering a tactically engaging base game, but also near-infinite replayability in the form of powers.
Your goal in the game is to try and build a tower to its third level, placing one of your two pawns on it, but your opponent is doing the same. Each pawn has to move and build every turn, and three-story towers can be capped by an opponent, denying you your winning move. It becomes an intricate dance and contest of tactical prowess, as you try to manoeuvre yourself and your opponent to exactly where you want them. Want more tabletop games? See our guide of the best digital board games on mobile.
Playdek’s Fort Sumter: Secession Crisis tackles the beginning of the American Civil War in a quick, 15-minute hand of cards between two players. Your job is to position yourself for the most political influence possible, as you prepare for the inevitable outbreak of the war. But Fort Sumter manages all this in an elegant little game that streamlines the card-based intrigue of Twilight Struggle, creating a two-player experience that’s easy to learn, and surprisingly nuanced. Want more painstakingly-realised historical conflicts? See our list of the best mobile war games.
The physical version of Morels is a very casual yet fun card game for two people. It’s only drawback is that it takes up a fair amount of room, but thanks to Mossbark Games’ excellent digital adaptation, that’s no longer a concern.
All of the best traits of Morels has survived the mobile port. It’s especially good for couples, being very laid back, but also well-paced, and easy to play. You won’t need to remember anything too complex, and it’s an excellent time-waster if you’re travelling together, or are just looking for some quick and easy entertainment at home.
This ambitious turn-based strategy game proudly wears its influences on its sleeve. Uniwar has the conquer-the-map tension of Advance Wars, as well as the creative asymmetry of different player races: the fleshy Terrans, chitinous Insectoids, and the metallic Robots. The abilities and interactions across these units are rather lively and varied, walking the line between interesting and unbalanced. Find more tactical triumphs on our list of the best mobile strategy games!
This series has been around almost as long as smartphones themselves, and it’s still an excellent way to spend a good few hours. Yes, Words with Friends 2 is like that other classic board game, but there’s also the delicious subtext of who-spells-what-when.
It just works on multiple levels, from a pure gameplay perspective, but also in terms of the social pay-out, and connection. On the gameplay front, it’s worth noting that advanced play involves so much more than just scoring the most impressive single word on a given turn. It also means thinking about positioning, letter draws, and pacing. See our list of the best mobile puzzle games for more brain-teasing action.
Co-op games are great, but even the greats tend to be best-played purely solo, or with the max player count. Burgle Bros, however, is unique in that it shines in co-op. With just two players, the joint is cased twice as fast, but hiding is also much harder. Players explore each floor’s tiles until they discover the safe, crack the combination, retrieve the loot, and advance to the next level.
Patrolling guards and alarms make things difficult, and if any player runs out of stealth points they risk getting caught and sent to the slammer. Some of the game’s more advanced tactics and interactions really only come into their own with a dynamic duo, making it a perfect play for two.
It sounds funny, but Onitama is a game primarily about not losing. What this means in practice is thinking many steps in advance, pondering every single movement, something which is surprisingly difficult. Onitama is a two-player abstract game played on a two-dimensional square grid, much like chess.
Players win by either capturing their opponent’s king piece, or by moving their own respective king onto the other player’s start space. The twist is how the movement patterns work, as they are dictated by cards which can only be used once, yet also eventually become playable to your opponent. The app is free, and as well-polished as any of Asmodee’s releases.
This one features asymmetrical factions trying to control a board by selecting two of three tiles each turn. The post-apocalyptic setting and wildly divergent playstyles of the factions make it an unusually colorful strategy game, but these flourishes of variety do nothing to detract from the game’s balance. The base game only includes four races, but that alone is plenty to start with and the rest are available as paid DLC.
Arcade or action-style two player games are the epitome of beer-and-pretzel fun. Crystal clear consequences, nothing to overthink or over-analyse; just quick wrists instead of quick wits. Pure impulse and reaction make for some reliable fun, and Glow Hockey is a passable digital dupe for the famous game, Air Hockey.
Minus the constant click-clack of the pucks, the physics are satisfying, and the controls responsive. It works well in an understated way that makes it no less fun.
A western showdown at sundown. Quick-draw, one-shot, one-kill. That’s the gameplay loop of Ready, Steady, Bang, with variable countdown timing, and a variety of death animations. Technically there’s also a short campaign mode vs. AI with ironclad timing thresholds, but the meat of the game can be reduced to a single perfectly timed gesture. Dead simple, quick, and satisfying. Just don’t be the other guy.
This game may be pint-sized in comparison to some of its juggernaut neighbours on this list, but what it lacks in player count, or time commitment, it makes up for in charm and crystal-clear, razor-sharp strategy. Patchwork is a variable-setup perfect information game for two: players work to fill up their empty boards by adding patches to them, with the ultimate goal of filling the whole swath, and collecting as many precious buttons along the way as possible.
It is almost instantly intuitive, yet perplexing, and sophisticated, even after dozens of playthroughs. A sweet game that can also come down to a hardcore battle of wits.
OTHER TOP TWO PLAYER MOBILE GAMEs
You looking for more two player games? Here’s an extra selection:
- Tides of Time
- Ticket to Ride
- Potion Explosion
- Lords of Waterdeep
- Through the Ages
- Indian Summer
- Twilight Struggle